Terry Kennedy – from the wing to the warehouse
Here in DublinTown we’re always trying to highlight and celebrate those hidden spaces and faces in Dublin City Centre, and as we’ve tried to show before, Capel Street has more hidden gems than most.
Last week we dropped by for a chat with Terry Kennedy in the showrooms of Terry and John Kennedy Agents tucked away on the lower end of Capel Street. Previously with JB Agencies, Terry has been on Capel Street for over 40 years, specialising as clothing and textile agents to many fashion retailers around the country. While they have a warehouse further out in an industrial estate, Terry likes to have a city centre presence especially as they work with so many city centre fashion retailers.
Terry’s route into the business wasn’t necessarily straightforward, a trained accountant he was probably better known to the wider public for his sporting prowess; prowling the wing for St. Mary’s and winning 13 caps for the Irish rugby team in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. As a young man a rugby connection with clothing wholesaler J.B. Sweeney led to the offer of some temporary work in their Drury Street premises which turned into a life-long involvement with the business, including becoming a partner and a relocation from Drury Street to 18 Capel Street in the late 70’s.
Terry certainly loves life on the street, he works with many of the city’s retailers, from huge department stores like Arnott’s to smaller, specialist businesses like his next door neighbour Brendan Kidd Menswear.
We’ve often said that Capel Street is the type of street where you can get everything from a thimble to an anchor and it’s certainly true for Terry, within a couple of hundred yards of Terry’s front door he has Romano’s restaurant, a favourite spot for lunch and in his opinion the best pasta in Dublin, all made fresh by Romano himself.
For good coffee there’s Brother Hubbard right across the road and then in the evening the local of choice tends to be the Boar’s Head where Terry has brought plenty of former teammates during the years.
The area has changed over the years, Capel Street was once the hub of the rag trade though as Terry points out plenty of quality remains such as the likes of Kidd’s and Louis Copeland, and Diffney’s on nearby Mary Street.
The new businesses have brought new life and vibrancy to the area though he’s remained loyal to some of the old guard, for example he hasn’t had a haircut anywhere apart from Ed’s Barbers on Abbey Street in the last 40 years. Such is the trust that is placed in Ed’s scissor skills that a former employee of Terry’s still travels all the way from Youghal to get his hair cut there!
It’s a busy time for Terry, “It’s always a busy time in the rag trade, it’s all menswear in here today but next week it’ll be all the new women’s fashions”, and he’s kept up his sporting interests.
When we met he was getting ready to go to a Rugby sevens competition. As we leave he’s already talking about getting some his ex-teammates back down to Capel Street, “I’ve promised Hugh I’d bring a few of the lads in for pint in the Boar’s Head”.